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Racism is man’s gravest threat - the maximum hatred for a minimum of reasons.
— Abraham Joshua Heschel
This was a comment posted by a disgruntled mother on a people’s choice Facebook competition for Australian fashion label Bond’s ‘Cute Baby’. Today’s Daily Telegraph reported other comments including ‘ugly duckling’ and ‘bond’s Australia not Asia’ in a war of words that’s caught the attention of global media. 

Bonds have been an Australian icon since 1915 after building the first cotton spinning mill in Wentworthville, New South Wales. Best known for their chesty bonds range, the company is now part of the Pacific Brands conglomerate that posted a 06/07 gross profit of $1.6b and 9,000 employees. 

In promotion of its Bonds children’s range, the company is seeking 10 cute kids by a people’s choice Facebook competition. Pippa Taylor entered her daughter Lilli (pictured above) whose beautiful Eurasian appearance epitomises the modern blend of Australian culture and ethnicity. She was not prepared for the abuse from the mothers of other contestants that soon followed. Some of the comments have been so severe that they have been reported to the police.

It seems an ironic turn of events that almost 5 months ago, the Bonds factory moved it’s manufacturing operations to China, leaving nearly 2,000 Australian’s with an uncertain future seeing their jobs filled by asian candidates. Fast forward to today and poor Lilli bears the brunt of anti-Asian sentiment. The two incidents aren’t directly related but it seems a cruel irony when the decision was based on cashflow; CEO Sue Morphett’s renumeration package from rose from $685,000 to $1.8m.

There is the more important and broad concern of whether Australian’s are racist as suggested by media reports on this event. When it comes to Lilli, it’s likely a simple case of Beauty Pageant Syndrome. What is concerning is that comments are race related; why was that the first place to go?

Polish-American Rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel puts it the best:

“Racism is man’s gravest threat - 
the maximum hatred for a minimum of reasons”

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